Freeblown Jar

Provenance: Jerry McCann Collection

Jars were among the first products of American 18th and 19th-century glasshouses. They were used by druggists and doctors for powdered ingredients and medical preparations, in the household for storing and preserving, and for the commercial storage and packaging of flours, pickles, fruit, vegetables, and preserves by individual merchants and others dealing in commodities.

Free-blown means glass-forming by blowing and manipulating by hand and tools without the aid of a mold to shape the bottle. A free-blown bottle has no mold seams or other mold-induced markings.

Our museum example represents a type of utility jar produced in the Pittsburgh District which typically comprises Louisville, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh geographic areas. It was probably made somewhere between 1850 and the early 1860s.

This example was actually blown using a half mold form, probably wooden, to create the shape. The blown jar was turned in the half mold which often left horizontal scratches. The jar has an open pontil scar and an applied groove ring that allowed sealing with wax and a tin lid.

The vast majority of these jars are colorless, but deep blue and aqua examples are also known. Our museum example is quite exceptional in glass color.

The finish on these types of jars matched a variety of closures including glass stopper, glass top seal, Willoughby cast iron stopper, cork, and Kline. All have been reported by collectors.

Primary Image: Freeblown Jar imaged by the FOHBC Virtual Museum midwest studio by Alan DeMaison.

Secondary Images: Auction Lot 79: Freeblown Wide Mouth Food Jar, America, 1830-1840. Cylindrical, clear light green, tooled flared mouth – pontil scar, ht. 8 ¼ inches, dia. 5 ¼ inches. Similar in form and construction to McK plate 67, #12 Retains period cork which has letters impressed in wax “Sun Groc Est. Mar 7 1832 Philda”. Extremely rare. Early jar with lots of character and an important date. – Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #171

Secondary Images: Auction Lot 281: Freeblown Fruit Jar, America, 1840-1860. Cylindrical bell form, light to medium sapphire blue with an olive amber striation in neck, applied groove ring wax sealer mouth – pontil scar, ht. 10 inches, dia. 5 3/8 inches; (light exterior high point wear). L #3061-1 A most impressive jar in size, color and form. Fine condition. Dr. Charles and Jane Aprill collection. – Norman C. Heckler & Company Auction #180 – Session II

Support: Reference to Fruit Jar Annual 2020 – The Guide to Collecting Fruit Jars by Jerome J. McCann

Support: Reference to American Bottles and Flasks and Their Ancestry by Helen McKearin and Kenneth M. Wilson, Crown Publishers Inc., New York, 1978.

Support: Auction Lot 37: Large Freeblown Storage Jar, possibly Willington Glass Works, West Willington, Connecticut, 1815-1830. Cylindrical, rich blue green, tooled flared mouth – pontil scar, ht. 10 ¼ inches, base dia. 5 ¾ inches; (2 ¼ inch interior bubble is missing most of its cover glass). Similar in form and construction to McK plate 230, #9 Beautiful color and impressive size. Fine exterior surface condition. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler & Company

Support: Auction Lot 148: Freeblown Utility Jar, probably Keene Marlboro Street Glassworks, Keene, New Hampshire, 1820-1840. Cylindrical, medium golden amber, tooled wide flared mouth – pontil scar, ht. 7 ½ inches, base dia. 5 inches; (light exterior high point wear). Similar in form and construction to McK plate 72a, #4 Wonderful size, form and brilliant color. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler & Company

Support: Auction Lot 63: Two Freeblown Wide Mouth Utility Jars, probably America, 1830-1860. Cylindrical, shades of yellow amber, tooled flared mouths – pontil scars, ht. 5 1/8 inches and 7 1/8 inches, dia. 3 ¾ inches and 4 7/8 inches. Similar in form and construction to KW fig. 149 Wonderful sizes, colors and forms. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler & Company

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